Are You Almost Anorexic? 'Borderline' Eating Disorders Can Be Dangerous

In the U.S., an estimated one in 200 people develop an eating disorder. That is a startling number, but another number is even more alarming: one in 20 people struggle with a borderline eating disorder. In one major study, 13-21 percent of teenage girls suffer from a borderline eating disorder.

These alarming statistics are outlined in Almost Anorexic, a book by Jennifer J. Thomas, Ph.D.

Borderline Eating Disorders Can Go Undetected

Often, people with borderline eating disorders can hide their growing food issues by proclaiming that they are health-conscious and have a passion for fitness. While everyone else is grabbing fast food, they nibble on raw carrots and celery sticks. When others are being lazy and sleeping in, they're out jogging. They may even get praised for their commitment to healthy habits.

The person who is borderline anorexic may not fit the stereotype—they may not be a young, white female. They may not be severely underweight (yet). They seem healthy enough, so they don't raise any red flags.

"Almost" Is Not a Safe Zone

Many people who are struggling with food and weight issues eventually come to realize that something is wrong but are often in denial about how serious that problem is. They think they're okay because they're not as bad off as others who are wasting away or suffering from debilitating malnutrition.

The problem is that they're not safe; they may not have plummeted off the deep end yet, but they're teetering on the edge.

Warning Signs

At some point, the desire to be fit and healthy crosses a line into that dangerous gray area, bringing a person closer and closer to that dangerous edge. There are a lot of warning signs when someone is borderline anorexic.

One thing to consider is your relationship with food. Are you obsessed with dieting? Do you eliminate entire food groups or severely restrict certain types of foods? Do you deliberately skip meals or snacks?

Do rituals and routines dominate your eating habits? For example, it's fine when you like to eat raw carrots with dinner; it's a problem when you can't eat dinner without raw carrots. If your routine is disrupted, you may skip meals altogether.

A person on the borderline may notice their weight yo-yos a lot. They may become obsessed with their physical appearance and too focused on the negative.

The Struggle Is Real

According to Thomas, people with borderline eating disorders struggle just as much as those who suffer from full-blown eating disorders. She notes that the sooner people get into treatment, the better the chances are that they'll recover.

Why wait to go over the edge? Seek treatment as soon as possible.

Sources: National Eating Disorders Association, Huff Post, The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, Crisis Text Line

Photo: Pexels

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